I went bold this year for a family gathering and made new vegetable dishes. I wanted to bring spaghetti squash to the table, literally, and I thought a southwestern touch would be unusual for us here up North. I found a recipe, altered it to my ideas and it was done. And amazing!
We were all impressed. I roasted the spaghetti squash the day before I made the dish. I’m a devotee of make ahead dishes. There are very few side dishes that can’t be made ahead, I’ve found My family compliments me on my large meals on special occasions and I just laugh. When spaced out over 2 or 3 days, it’s a breeze!
I cut the squash in half (not an easy thing to do, I know!) and scraped the seeds out of the centers. Scraping it out is another not so easy task in preparing spaghetti squash, but I’ve found a teaspoon works better for scraping than a big mixing spoon. Go figure.
I roasted the halves cut side down on a foil covered baking sheet at 350°F. It isn’t necessary to use any oil, the squash comes off the foil just fine without any lube. The squash was fork tender in about an hour. I insert the fork right through the skin and when that’s easily done, the squash is roasted and ready.
I set the squash aside and let it cool for handling. When I could grip it without screaming, I used a large spoon to scoop the squash strands out of the shells and put it into a bowl. I let the squash dry for awhile, then stored each in a zippered plastic storage bag. My squash was just the right size. Usually I buy the jumbo sized ones, which would be best just wrapped in plastic to store.
Next I sauteed some sweet bell peppers and onions in a little oil until they were beginning to brown. I wanted them very flavorful, they wouldn’t be cooking in the oven long. Toward the end I threw in some diced jalapeno and the spices to allow them to cook awhile.
I drained the black beans and added them to the squash. They’d heat in the oven after the squash was all mixed together.
When the peppers, onions and jalapenos were translucent or lightly browned, I added them to the squash bowl as well. I should have stirred the enchilada sauce into the skillet contents first, but alas I wasn’t reading the recipe. I’d read it and promptly forgot some of the steps!
I poured the enchilada sauce into the skillet to heat it and added the cream cheese. I stirred and broke up the cream cheese into smaller chunks as it melted until it was creamy and mostly smooth. I poured the enchilada sauce mixture over the squash and stirred until it was mixed well.
I’d prepared a baking dish for the squash by using some cooking spray. I poured the squash into the dish and let it bake in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes. Remember, the squash is already roasted, you don’t want it to get mushy.
I removed the squash from the oven, divided it between the two shells and stirred the remaining cheese into each squash bowl. I wrapped them in foil for traveling, as the family was gathering at my sister Dawn’s house. Just before serving I put the squash bowls into Dawn’s oven at 350°F and let them cook for about 15 minutes to melt the cheese. I served the squash hot and everyone loved it. It was an enchilada side dish that was unusual and delicious. It was a spicy addition to our usual buffet and many remarked it was just the right touch.
And it was excellent left over too! I loved it cold right out of the fridge. I’m strange like that.
Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
1 spaghetti squash (mine was about 7-8 cups of squash after roasting)
4 oz cream cheese
1 can enchilada sauce
1 cup sweet bell peppers; diced (I used 3 smaller sweet bell peppers, about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup onions; diced
2 tablespoon diced jalapeno (I used canned and they were plenty spicy)
1 can black beans; rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded cheese (I used Colby and Monterey Jack)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and season with salt and pepper. Place both halves face down on foil covered sheet pan and bake for 50 minutes.
Sauté bell peppers and onions in a drizzle of oil in a skillet for about 5 minutes. Add cumin, oregano, diced jalapeno and a large pinch of cayenne and sauté another minute or two.
Remove squash from oven and scoop out strands into medium sized bowl. Save shells for serving in plastic bags or wrap if not using immediately.
Drain black beans and add to bowl
In skillet heat enchilada sauce and cream cheese, breaking the cheese into smaller pieces until it is melted. Pour over squash mixture and mix well.
Put squash mixture into a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes at 350°F until fully heated. Remove from oven and spoon mixture back into spaghetti squash “bowls”.
Top each bowl with a cup of shredded cheese and stir well (I stirred a cup into the mixture and a cup on top). Return the squash bowls to the oven until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.
Serves 10-12 as a side dish, depending on the size of the squash.
Adapted from Ripped Recipes